HSS Chief Exec gives evidence to Holyrood Equality Committee

Humanist Society Scotland Chief Executive Gordon MacRae gives evidence to MSPs on the Equal Opportunities Committee. He raises the issue of discrimination against non-religious young people in Scottish education.

The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee is taking evidence this morning (8 Sept) in order to develop its work plan ahead.

HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae will join a range of other equality and human rights charity leaders to give evidence to the Committee.

HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae

HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae

Gordon MacRae will tell MSPs:
“The implications and uncertainty of Brexit and the UK Government’s plans to repeal the Human Rights Act are a concern for us.

“The Scottish Government, and Parliament, have previously made their strong support for human rights and specifically children’s right well known.

“Last year Section 1 of the Children and Young People Act came into effect, which requires the Scottish Government to take into consideration what further steps it can take to secure the rights of children and young people as laid out in the UN Convention.

“This was a hugely significant step, marking a major advancement in the treatment of children’s rights in Scotland, and across the UK.

“It is the job of this Committee to hold the Government to the high bar which it has set for itself. These are strong words, but without action they are meaningless.

“In practice this means addressing the systematic discrimination which non-religious young people face in Scottish education. From their lack of legal rights to opt-out of religious observance, to the lack of appropriate sex and relationships education in denominational schools.

“We know, from evidence already given to this Parliament, that Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board have already raised official concerns about lack of access to denominational schools by public health workers.

“These issues will need to be unpicked and addressed if this Committee is to fulfil it’s important role on behalf of Scotland’s young people.”

For reporting, check against delivery.

For further information or comment please contact Gary McLelland on gary@humanism.scot or 07813060713.

About HSS:
 Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.

Glasgow Health Board Comms: http://www.parliament.scot/S4_HealthandSportCommittee/Inquiries/Correspondence_Between_SCES_and_NHS_GGC_Health_Board.pdf

HSS policy response to sex and relationships: https://www.humanism.scot/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Response-to-draft-SHRE-guidlines-Humanist-Society-Scotland.pdf

HSS response to UN Universal Periodic Review: https://www.humanism.scot/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/HSSUPRSubmission050716-1.pdf


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